There are many sharks in the deep waters of social media wanting to bite off a piece of your valuable data. However, if you keep an eye on your accounts and familiarize yourself with potential risks, you may freely swim through any water, regardless of its dwellers.
One of the most common ways of exploiting social media accounts is harvesting users’ data. Even if you think of a post about your latest movie night with friends as something irrelevant, it could be a gateway to your more important information to those who know where to look. For example, most photos you post on social media contain metadata with the information where and when the photo has been taken. If you don’t want to be identified on social media platforms without your awareness, make sure to strip your photos from metadata before posting them online.
Furthermore, social media tends to be an excellent territory for phishing attacks where scammers lure people into clicking on infected links or logging into fake pages to gain access to their credentials. After getting their fingers on users’ login information, they can easily hack their accounts or even commit crimes using their personal information.
Protecting your passwords and login information should be a priority if you want to stay safe on social media. Make sure to create long and unique passwords and never reuse them across multiple platforms. Also, since our memory and creativity tend to have their limits, we often change only a few characters in our passwords and use almost identical credentials over our accounts. Thus, consider switching to a password manager because it creates an infinite number of hard-to-break passwords and encrypts all your credentials to make sure that it stays safe no matter who tries to get to it.
Even though passwords tend to be widely used and pretty convenient, they sometimes fall short of securing our accounts on their own in this day and age. Thus, adding a few more levels of protection over your passwords can have a significant impact on your account security. For example, some MFAs add biometric features like fingerprints to further personalize your login process and make it even harder to hack it. In addition to biometrics, you can protect your sensitive data with an app that generates one-time passcodes to verify your access.
Connecting to a free WiFi in a restaurant while waiting for your dinner can seem harmless, but even though the network looks legitimate, it doesn’t mean that it really is. Keep in mind that cybercriminals often create malicious networks to steal users’ data and use it against them. If you can’t bypass public WiFi, make sure to use a VPN to encrypt your data in traffic.
If you want to ensure that nobody can access your social media accounts, check your account settings and turn on notifications for suspicious login attempts. Most social media platforms have an option to alarm you if someone tries to gain access to your account. If you don’t recognize the activity you’ve been alerted about, you can simply mark it as ‘It wasn’t me,’ and you’ll get the option to change your credentials to prevent further damage immediately.
To stay protected on social media, keep a close look at your credentials and the networks you’re connecting to. Also, be mindful of your online activities and make sure to implement these few suggestions into your security framework.